The Valley arts community is among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Faced with the question “to perform or not perform”? The Phoenix Theatre Company is building a new outdoor venue at the Central United Methodist Church. The venue is located at 1875 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, just one block north of the theater’s three-stage complex. The customized outdoor stage will provide plenty of room for patrons to enjoy the live performance experience while safely social distancing.
“With the outdoor theater, every aspect of the patron experience had to be reconsidered and redesigned,” says Karla Frederick, director of production. “It started as a dream and now I’m happy to say it’s really happening.”
The new performance space will accommodate approximately 250 attendees, seated in pairs and distanced six-feet in all directions. The 32-foot by 24-foot stage has been custom designed and engineered by outdoor event specialists to allow production teams to recreate high-production values without sacrificing safety. A wall of screens will be installed at the back of the stage to increase flexibility of the space.
“This work is six months in the making,” says Vincent VanVleet, managing director. “We had to make absolutely sure that we could present outdoor shows without increasing the risk to public health. It was a tricky needle to thread, but I couldn’t be prouder of all we’ve accomplished. Best of all, we’ll be helping put some of the country’s finest arts professionals back to work.”
Performances at the outdoor theater are slated to begin Tues., Nov. 10, with Happy Birthday Dionne, a tribute to Dionne Warwick featuring the celebrated local trio We3. Outdoor programming will run through May 2021. The theater is tentatively scheduling the return of live shows for June 2021 and will start with The Rocky Horror Show and Something Rotten! To learn more about upcoming programming and health and safety guidelines, CLICK HERE.